BERHAMPUR: Even as concerns have been raised over rising use of social media for online prostitution, the platforms have also come as a tool for miscreants to dupe people with promise of providing escort services in the district.
Posing as pimps, they are using social media and whatsapp to lure potential customers and accept payments through UPI-based payment gateways like Paytm, Google Pay or Phone Pay from those who fall in their trap. Their modus operandi involves circulating mobile numbers on WhatsApp and social media sites.
Recently, two youths from Buguda were duped of Rs 12,000 by one such pimp. As instructed by the pimp, they reached a particular hotel here to meet the girls but had to return disappointed. Although they did not file a complaint with the police, they contacted a local social worker and apprised him of their plight.
The social worker the called the phone number, posing as a client. A man responded in Hindi and sent photographs of some girls with a rate chart on his whatsapp. The rate mentioned in the chart was Rs 2,500 for one hour, Rs 4,000 for two hours, Rs 5,000 for 3 hours, Rs 6,000 for 4 hours and Rs 8,000 for entire night in addition to hotel charges.
The person asked the social worker to finalise the deal and transfer 25 per cent of the amount in advance to his bank account. When he insisted on seeing the girl, the call was disconnected. Sources said potential customers send a message ‘Maal Achhi’ (Is a girl available) on such brokers’ whatsapp numbers and the latter respond with a ‘Hi’ and seek the name of hotel, date and time.
ASP Prabhat Routray said police can initiate action in such cases if anyone lodges a complaint. He assured the name of the complainants will be kept confidential.